tv This Week in Defense CBS June 16, 2013 8:00am-8:29am EDT
army general david petraeus last week argued that the hard won counter insurgency and irregular lessons of iraq and afghanistan must be remembered given americans will face similar -- issued by britain's royal uniformed services institute in london that recognizes major contributors to military thought. past winners including alford thayer mahahn -- petraeus' comments come as america draws down in afghanistan and a weary pentagon turns away from counter insurgency operations as it faces up to $500 billion in additional defense cuts. here to talk about petraeus' remarks is john noggle who is the policy board that advises defense secretary chuck hagel. he is a retired lieutenant colonel who is part of the team that worked for petraeus to shape the counter insurgency strategy that turned the tide of the iraq war. welcome to the program.
>> good to be back. >> it was also good to see general petraeus mention your work in his acceptance speech. a critic would say it's no surprise david petraeus -- and i understand that you're not the most unbiased observer because you too were involved in that effort but tell us why he is right and are his remarks going to make a difference in this emerging debate? >> the reason i think general petraeus, dr. petraeus is correct, that counter insurgency isn't going to go away is insurgency isn't going away. we are living in an age in insurgency, supporting an insurgency one in syria, we are conducting counter insurgency operations in support of our partners in the philippines and afghanistan and pakistan. there is every indication that -- >> columbian was another one. >> yes. the columbians now are exporting security, they are
trying to improve security in their region and perhaps around the globe so i think it's far from impossible that we are living in an age of insurgency and hence that the counter insurgency lessons we paid for in blood and treasure are going to remain useful, should not be -- we shouldn't burn the books again as we did after vietnam. >> is there a sense that those books are being burns because i sense that that is true because the 2012 strategy had made clear that the nation must maintain coin capabilities, counter insurgency capabilities but to a lesser extent than in the past and in some of the actions they seem to be saying let's go back to the old ways of doing war fare because this stuff is too complicated? >> the organizational -- certainly inclined toward what russ buyingly called the american -- wigely called the american way of war. send a bullet rather than a man. i think that the character of
war fare in our modern age is changing. the very fact that we are so good at the american way of war makes it almost impossible for anyone to compete against us and therefore our enemies are likely to continue to choose to fight us as insurgents and therefore i think we have to maintain the capability, the knowledge at least, some of the specialized skills that we have learned and paid for in order to mitigate against the chance that we are going to have to do this again. >> how strong is the movement within the institution -- institutions to do that? because you see evidence that folks really want to sort of move away from it, these training centers are expensive, you know, they cost a lot of money, very manpower intensive. is this going to make a difference in the debate about how much capacity we need? >> the debate is so skewed right now that this is really a side argument so sequestration has done, is doing, it's a slow motion train wreck that continues and looks like likely
to continue for at least another year that we are shutting down fighter squaw drops, the army -- squadrons, the army cancelled the troop intensive exercises of which you speak which are necessary both to prepare the military for the high end capabilities that they definitely need to deter our enemies and also prevent us from practicing the lower end skills. and so we are opening up opportunities for our add sayers by re-- adversaries by reducing training by misallocating defense dollars and i this think congress has -- and i think congress has a lot to answer for. >> from the standpoint of maintaining these skills, we got very good at it because guys were doing it every day, making mistakes and learning on the fly and then figuring out a brilliant system to get the lessons back out to folks to be in a constant learning track. if we are not doing it all the time, what's the right way to keep some of these skills fresh? >> so the good news is an awful lot of these skills are relatively inexpensive to
acquire or maintain, certainly as compared to tank gunnery, one of my favorite things but an expensive thing. so language skills, maintaining, developing language skills, cultural understanding, the principles of counter insurgency, the history of warfare all are relatively cheap and there are a series of really good books coming out right now, so we can educate even if we are unable to train because of a lot of the decisions that are being made about budget allocations. >> when we talk about capacity, though, how much capacity is enough capacity? i mean right now most of the u.s. army was engaged in that task, much of the deployable part of the army was engaged in that task for example and much of the marine corp. how much of an emphasis does this have to be or a standard training element that every single person in the force has got to go through? >> i think every person in the force has to at least have an understanding of the basic principals, should understand the concept of war among the people, and should have a familiar -- familiarity,
experts particular knowledge, skills, cultural understanding, political skills, training skills and if there is one mistake i think we have made is that we have not institutionalized the training and advising skill set that i think is going to be a very important part, perhaps the most important part of what the u.s. army does in this century. >> let me just take a slight diversion and go to the question of, you know, because obviously any military operation, you know, as general petraeus ended his peach we don't get to choose the wars we go into. and enemies certainly have a vote in how those turn out. drones are a major part of our strategy in fighting the war on terror or at least has been, the administration has been tried to be somewhat more open about it. how strong do you believe is the argument that we are actually doing more damage through these strikes rather than less damage, that we are creating more insurgents than resolve. >> i think the drone program has improved dramatically over time. we are much better at correlating data from a number
of different programs, some of which have been much in the news recently, and we dramatically reduce the amount of collateral damage we do. in fact, we have been so successful with the drone strikes against al-qaeda central in the tribal regions of pakistan in particular that we are now reaching the point of diminishing returns and you've seen a diminution in drone strikes not, i don't think, because of the number of collateral damage, the amount of collateral damage we produce and hence the cost of increasing the number of insurgents we have to fight but because the targets aren't there anymore. >> and you were bullish that afghanistan was going to turn around, taliban has been making gains are you still bullish? >> i am cautiously optimistic that the afghan government will continue after 2014 and that as long as the united states remains committed in the training and advisory role and provides air power support in particular the u.s. congress provides the funds that are going to be required to stay in the afghan army -- sustain the
afghan army, that afghanistan will hold together, it won't be pretty, it will be deeply unsatisfying but it will accomplish core national security objectives of our country. >> john, thank you very much for joining us. coming up how the pentagon will respond to a congressional push to stop buying service specific camouflage uniforms. you're watching this week in defense news. this week in defense news is sponsored in part by bdo. people who know, know bdo. anyway the guys in my unit who'd been here before, told me just ride it out, keep my head down and remember the reason i'm here. and we're paying for it all with my cashrewards card from navy federal. we're earning cash back! bring it. brought it. brung. 4 million members. 4 million stories. navy federal credit union.
once there was only one camouflage uniform for the entire military but in the years since 9/11 each of the services has adopted unique patterns to suit their needs and bolster service pride, a total of at least 10 different looks but there have been a series of costly blunders and missteps as uniforms that didn't work as planned were fielded including the air force tiger strike camo, a navy blue
design and an army combat uniform that didn't perform well in afghanistan. with defense spending dropping, congress which has tried to tackle this issue before is putting increasing pressure on the pentagon to stop the madness and return to a single field uniform. andrew is -- and he's been covering this story. andrew, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> what are the proposals that lawmakers are considering? >> the house armed services committee last week put in the annual defense bill a clause that would basically require the pentagon to create a single combat uniform for all the services with the exception of geography like they could have a woodland version and a desert version but other than that all the services would have to have the same thing and they would be prohibited from developing any new ones other than that. >> they have tried do this before. is there any indication the senate is going to follow suit on this? is there going to be a united front to put pressure on the
prnt? >> not clear what the senate is going to do but they have put pressure on the pentagon in the past. they have had gao study this issue and actually the pentagon was supposed to come up with some uniform standards so that all the uniforms would presumably meet the same -- but the pentagon dragged its feet on that so i think there's a decent chance this will pass. >> how much is this going to save and is it really about savings or symbolism? >> it will safe a few million dollars, three or 4 million to develop a new uniform which clearly in the context of a $500 billion budget is not a huge thing. i think this is -- this is similar to the hill is latching onto this as an example of ways of inefficiency and i think they want to sort of signal that the days of the open checkbook are over. >> tell us how we ended up with so many uniforms. this really started in 2002, didn't it? >> yeah. as you said in the opener, everybody used to have the same
uniform and then in 2002 the marine corps pushed out their new digital marpat pattern and it made a lot of sense, it was wash and wear so the marines didn't have to pay for starch every day. but that kind of step, this sort of odd trend, the army had to develop their own and then the air force had to develop their own. >> then the navy? >> yes, and then the navy developed one but the marines said it looked too much like theirs so they told them not to use it and the navy agreed to not use it. it's been a real kind of bizarre turn of events. >> but it has been billions of dollars that have been cost. for example the army did feel the uniform didn't work particularly well and it was withdrawn and a new one was fielded. how is the pentagon responding to this and -- to this push and what are the troops saying about the prospect of losing, you know, what some consider to be a cherished uniform now? >> i think that the pentagon is just reluctant to infringe on what's always been kind of a services prerogative to have the uniform that they want and they have -- they have been
dragging their feet a little bit. they were supposed to develop some specific standards and, you know, they are budding up against the deadline now and the standards they are putting out are vague like they have to -- you know, it has to be just sort of textile standards. but -- >> how did the troops respond? >> the marines are very propriety over their uniform and they are going to be really unhappy about this, but i think -- >> that's the first uniform that has the eagles logo woven into the fabric. >> and marines are sort of the distinctiveness is important to them. i don't know that it's going to be a huge issue for the air force and maybe the army. they have already been -- the air force has been wearing the army's uniform for a couple of years. >> you spent the week also covering secretary hagel and chairman dempsey up in congress they were testifying on sequestration. what was the upshot on what they said and were lawmakers satisfied with what they heard? >> this was interesting.
they were talking this week to the appropriations and the budget committees and it really seemed to me like that really the pentagon and congress have accepted the fact that sequestration is here, it's going to be in 2014 and the rhetoric on everybody's side just sort of we are done with leon panetta's acts and somehow we can ignore this and somebody is going to make it go away so that was really i think the sub text of a lot of the testimony this week is lawmakers are basically saying you guys need to plan to these spending caps and the pentagon said yeah, we are going to -- >> but are they going to give them the flexibility that the department has said. the department says i can cut anything you want if you can give me flexibility. is there any sense of movement on them giving that? >> i think there's -- these caps are here so i think that that movement is probably pretty likely because sort of like a half measure basically. >> let me quickly move to
sexual assault. that's been an absolute scandal for a long time. folks are coming under an intense amount of pressure on it. what's the latest on this evolving drama? >> there seemed to be this great push on the hill to pass some legislation that would have taken -- stripped commanders of their authority to handle these cases and turn them over to someone else, some sort of independent prosecutor but at the last minute carl evan said he was not going to have that in the bill this year so that was kind of an interesting kind of -- >> reverse al. >> last minute maneuver. the chiefs have all been aggressively opposed to that so it looks like for now the pentagon is going to kind of, you know, it's going to get its way on this one. >> andrew, thank you very much. we will have you back as there's more on the camo drama. up next our summer reading tips from one of washington's most voracious defense readers. stay tuned. ♪
frank hoffman is a true military international. he joins us today to talk about great books that have come out of ndu and give us some summer reading tips. frank is a retired marine lieutenant colonel who was a senior navy civilian before taking his post. frank, welcome back. >> great to be here and with your readers. >> talk to us about some of the great books that you guys have had come out recently. >> national defense university the hottest book we have right now is called convergence and
deals with elicit networks and eenergying -- an emerging national security threat. he was introduced to these nexus of transnational criminal organizations and terrorist organizations coming together and then when he went to european command where -- he was surprised to see the same kind of threat so this book describes this emergent national security threat and the directions it's going and kind of inner agency -- >> what are some of the key ideas that the book fosters because there's been obviously a big drive to interconnect government better to have a whole government approach on some of this stuff but still rather large disconnects in how the system -- >> as you've had on the show with commander task force south, the inner agency approach is important, the treasury, the d.e.a., the coast card and the intelligence community must work together transnationally across borders and across seams. >> that sort of hybrid war on the nexus stuff is also where
you have done some of your work. is that really in your view sort of an undervalued threat where we have a tendency of looking at things that are more understandable like china or something elsewhere this sort of mushy area is something we tend not to pay attention to? >> in the real world see more convergence, see more overlaps. we see this in iraq, we had terrorism, criminality and we had insurgency all going on so that is a trend of the fast and it will continue in the future. >> you are one of those avid readers. you say you read a book overnight that might take my days. this will constitute roughly our first summer reading list and hopefully we have more. what are your top picks? >> as people getting ready for father's day they might think of three major titles out right now, the first one is battle of bunker hill. it is a revisionist history of
an insurgency that we ran as opposed to a counter insurgency up in new england and i learned a lot about that battle which was a particularly bloody fight, 400 americans died and 1000 british soldiers died in one day and a very bloody fight. >> which back then were huge casualties. >> yeah, it's the largest casualty figure until the american civil war 90 some years later. the lesson i took out of it reading is the american way of war starts in this specific period of time and the american founders were very interested in information warfare and in getting the narrative right. after these battles the boston massacre, the battle of lexington and the battle of bunker hill, the founders were very, very particular about the message that was put out in the newspapers and they got on fast boats and they got the message to london so that they would shape how the fights and how the battles were seen in london and in boston and in washington, baltimore and the other emergent cities. >> give us another pick. >> i think paul kennedy up at yale has got a wonderful book titled engineers of victory,
problem solvers that stem the tide in world war ii. it's a wonderful perspective, a different flesh look at the second world war, not through the eyes of masters and commanders and churchills and patton, eisenhower. the engineering of technologies that were needed to implement the visions that churchill and fdr had laid out. i really find it an interesting book and kind of tying into the occurring conflict. the lesson in this book is the need to learn from one's mistakes, the need to have a culture of innovation and adaptation that's proven successful in iraq and afghanistan american forces is really found in the second world war and actually helped turn the tide there. >> and rick atkinson has got a great book you're highlighting. >> he's finally finished the trilogy. >> worth the wait. >> yes. it's a little denser than some books, this is not for the pool side. this is not for sitting at the
beach. but it's wonderfully rich, lavishly detailed. >> it's guns at last light. >> third book, it's quite thick. it's worth the read and the look through. the biggest lesson in this particular book that's also relevant to our last pick that i took out of it was the issues of coalition warfare. churchill's comment that the worst thing fighting with the coalition with allied, fighting without them really comes out. eisenhower's challenge in holding together the british, americans, french dutch and everybody together for that conflict. this book goes from d day 335 days later into berlin. very detailed, very rich -- >> and worth buying? >> worth buying and putting in your bag. >> frank, thanks very much for joining us. we appreciate it. coming up my notebook.
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the 50th paris air show starts this week but for the first time since 2003 america's premiere military aircraft won't be represented at the world's largest and oldest air show. instead u.s. fighters, bombers, transports, helicopters and even reconnaissance planes that showcase america's capability and industrial -- automatic defense cuts in washington drove dod to cancel military participation in military shows and flyovers both at home and overseas, despite the administration's drive to boost defense exports to support u.s. jobs as defense spending drops.
industry was left to fund and get approvals to bring planes to paris this year and fly them but details proved to onerous to overcome. the rest of the world erases its export orders. the f235 makes its paris debut marking russia's return to -- after its amazing retreat to avoid a debt collector. hurts u.s. and european contracts who won a robust presence to showcase their products especially supplier companies that unlike giant prime contractors actually book sizable orders during the show. dod's decision was shortsighted. having american planes at air shows won't automatically book orders but it doesn't hurt. not having them there at all diminishes the world's leading superpower on the industry's most important stage. thanks for joining us for "this week in defense news." i'm vago muradian. i'll be back next week at the same time, until then, have a
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no medicine in modern history has caused as much sustained argument as avandia -- it came under attack six years ago from academics and members of fda's own review staff. they charged avandia increased the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular mortality. with congress looking on fda put severe restrictions on the use of it in 2010 and the drug taken off the market in europe but the debate didn't end. 1gs case study found it poses little or no cardiovascular risk. critics charged the pharma mishandled its data. duke university researchers were candidate to conduct an independent review. last year they confirmed the pharma's conclusions. now an fda virusry committee -- advisory committee pored over the data. the controversies disrupted the lives of diabetics, raised hurdles for testing new drugs and